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Home :: Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh Herb -Benefits, Uses And Side Effects

Scientific name:Cimicifuga racemosa

Actions: Alterative, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-venomous, arterial, astringent, cardiac stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmena­gogue, expectorant, sedative, stomachic ­ tonic


Black cohosh is a shrub-like plant native to the eastern deciduous forests of North America, ranging from southern Ontario to Georgia, north to Wisconsin and west to Arkansas. The dried root and rhizome are used medicinally. When harvested from the wild, the root is black in color. Cohosh, an Algonquin Indian word meaning "rough," refers to the plants gnarly root structure.

Since it is marketed not as a drug but as a food, companies that sell Black Cohosh extracts are allowed to advertise its known health benefits. Although science has not indisputably confirmed or denied these claims, preliminary research provides extremely encouraging evidence of its efficacy and safety.

Available Forms

Black cohosh is available in capsules, tablets, liquid tincture that can be mixed in water, and dried root that can be simmered in water.

Black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh, an herb that is reported to have similar effects, but has not been thoroughly tested for its safety and effectiveness and may actually behave like nicotine.

Uses and benefits of Black Cohosh

  • Used in female conditions where vaginal dryness, lack of menstruation, and infertility is present. Stimulates estrogen production.
  • Not suited for estrogen dominant femates, where excessive bleeding and cysts, fibroids, and fibrocystic conditions exist.
  • Said to help loosen and expel mucus from the lungs.
  • Contracts the uterus and increases menstrual flow.
  • Said to be a tonic for the central nervous system (CNS).
  • Black cohosh has also been used to treat a variety of other complaints, including insect bites and eczema.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

  • When taken at commonly recommended doses, black cohosh is associated with few--if any--adverse reactions. However, some women do experience stomach upset, weight gain, and dizziness when taking black cohosh.
  • Very high doses can cause vomiting, headache, dizziness, excessively low blood pressure, and limb pain. Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect an overdose.
  • Black cohosh should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.

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